Without looking at the title of the blog post, who can guess what’s important about today?
I’ll give you a clue, in the form of the ABC TV Guide for today:
3:00 – New Zealand Dawn Service
4:00 – Sydney Dawn Service
5:00 – Canberra Dawn Service
5:30 – ABC New Breakfast ANZAC Day Special
8:30 – ABC News ANZAC Day Special
9:00 – ANZAC Day March Adelaide
12:30 – Gallipoli Dawn Service
1:30 – Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service
2:30 – Australia Remembers: Gallipoli 100
4:30 – Gallipoli from Above: The Untold Story
5:20 – The Governor-General’s ANZAC Day Address
5:30 – Lone Pine Memorial Service
6:30 – Gardening Australia
If you still haven’t got it, it’s ANZAC Day. There has been a lot of ANZAC stuff around lately – it seems we’ve been more concerned with 100 Years Since Gallipoli than we were last year with 100 Year Since The Beginning Of WW1 – and we (or, at least, the media), seemed pretty concerned with that last year.
My sister says she’s sick of all the ANZAC stuff, every time we turn on the TV for the last few weeks, but to be honest, I don’t mind it – as long as it’s tastefully done. I was in K-Mart the other weeks, and they had posters up saying things like “Celebrating 100 Years of ANZAC Spirit” and “Join Us In A Night of Entertainment and Remembrance”.
That, in my opinion, is taking it too far. It’s just in poor taste. 5000 people died or were wounded during the initial landing at ANZAC Cove one hundred years ago (ANZACs and Turks alike) and to turn it into a “Celebration” and a “Night of Entertainment” is frankly disgusting.
My father observed this morning, after the Dawn Service, that for all Australians don’t care much about Australia Day, formalities, or patriotism, ANZAC Day is the one thing we hold sacred. You don’t mess with ANZAC Day. Full stop. The end.
For those non-Australia-New-Zealand people reading (does anyone read my blog not from Australia?), ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the landing at what is now called Anzac Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany, and the objective was to capture Istanbul (then known as Constantinople). That never happened, but in December 1915, after eight months, the ANZACs withdrew, but not before forty thousand casualties on both sides.
There had been a miscommunication of some sort, and the Australia New Zealand Army Corps landed one mile north of where they were meant to, at a beach with steep cliffs, where they got confused and died in vast numbers. It’s amazing to think that 100 years ago, that sort of thing was happening, and today, we can stream the Dawn Service live from Gallipoli to our televisions.
But it seems that Australia and New Zealand have a fairly good relationship with Turkey; whether as a direct result of the whole Gallipoli campaign, I don’t know. I do know, however, that prisoners of war in Turkey in WW1 were treated remarkably well. They were set to hard work, of course, mostly building the train line from Berlin to Istanbul, but they were given nice accommodation, enough food, and the spare time to place cricket games.
We went this morning to the Dawn Service in the next town. We don’t normally go to the Dawn Service (my sister, as a Scout/Venturer, has for quite a few years, and she’ll be marching in the aforementioned parade later), but since this is the centenary, decided we’d regret it if we didn’t go. I was amazed at how many people were there! There must have been more than a thousand – I’m sure just about everyone in the Stirling, Aldgate and Districts area went.
After hearing rumours of a nationwide bugler shortage, I was pleased to hear the Last Post actually played on a bugle, rather than on pipes as I feared might happen – on Remembrance Day, the Last Post is very often played by a piper instead of a bugler. But in all, the Dawn Service went quite well – even if the enthusiasm in singing God Defend New Zealand was in stark contrast to Advance Australia Fair. I think I was the only one (not part of the combined primary schools choir) singing.
I’ll leave you today with the recipe for ANZAC Biscuits – and a dire warning not to refer to them as “ANZAC Cookies”!!
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
2tbsp golden syrup
1tsp bi-carb soda
2tbsp boiling water
1 – Combined oats, flour, sugar, and coconut.
2 – Combined butter and golden syrup and stir over a gentle heat until melted.
3 – Mix bi-carb soda with boiling water and add to melted butter mixture.
4 – Stir into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5 – Place teaspoonfuls of the batter onto lightly-greased oven trays, leaving about 5cm in between to allow for spreading.
6 – Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes (or until golden-brown.